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Kerry, Gulf Officials Meet in Saudi Arabia, Focus on Iran

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Gulf state officials in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, in a bid to ease their concerns about the potential impact of an Iran nuclear deal.

Kerry arrived in Riyadh late Wednesday, after holding three days of meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in Switzerland.

The talks took place at a critical time. The U.S. and other world powers involved in nuclear negotiations are trying to reach a framework agreement by the end of this month. A senior State Department official said Wednesday that President Barack Obama would make an assessment at the end of March on whether it is worthwhile to proceed with the talks.

In Saudi Arabia, Kerry is trying to assure Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members that an Iran nuclear deal would not lead to regional instability.

He held talks early Thursday with the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as a bilateral meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah.

Kerry is meeting with other officials, including King Salman before wrapping up his visit to the country and traveling to London.

In addition to Iran’s nuclear status, Kerry and Gulf officials are expected to discuss issues of regional concern, including unrest in Yemen and coalition efforts to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

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